’Squawk’ Host Accidentally "Outs" Apple CEO as Gay
A CNBC news anchor ruffled feathers today when he accidentally outed Apple CEO Tim Cook as gay during a live panel discussion with CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. Mediaite reported that New York Times columnist James R Stewart was reacting to a call by former BP Boss Lord Browne calling for gay CEOs to come out, when co-host Simon Hobbs spilled the beans about Cook.
"You’d think CEOs especially are measured by objective criteria, financial performance," said Stewart. "Of course, there are gay CEOs in major companies, and I reached out to many of them. I got an extremely cool reception, not one would allow to be named at all."
That’s when Hobbs chimed in with the statement, "I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?"
Silence greeted Hobbs’ statement, as all the panelists turned to look at Stewart, who said, "Hmm, no."
"Oh, dear, was that an error?" Hobbs asked. "I thought he was open about it."
After shaking his head at Hobbs’ gaffe, Stewart said, "I don’t want to comment about anybody who might or might not be. I’m not going to out anybody."
Although Cook has not officially come out, it has been the source of speculation in outlets like Gawker, who reported that he is "destined to become an icon for gay advancement."
Cook has also been on the top of Out Magazine’s Power List for the past several years, coming in at second this year, after TV talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres. (The magazine also put correspondent Anderson Cooper on the list prior to his coming out.)
Out reports that Cook has never publicly discussed his sexual orientation, but in December 2013, the Alabama native gave a landmark speech at an event organized by his alma mater, Auburn University, in which he discussed suffering personal prejudice.
"Since these early days, I have seen and have experienced many types of discrimination, and all of them were rooted in the fear of people that were different than the majority," said Cook.